Chha Dhala

Chha Dhala –  Pandit Daulat Ram

Translation by Pandit Sumerchandra Divakar

The Chha-Dhala is a metrical composition. These devotional poems contain a condensed essence of Jaina philosophy. This has six cantos, each of which has been composed in a different metre. Hence the name Chhah-Dhala-6 metred poem.

First Dhala 

I offer obeisance through duly controlled mind, body and speech to one who is non-attached and has perfect knowledge, who is the reality in the three worlds, who is bliss personified, and who leads to bliss.

  1. All the infinite living beings in the three worlds desire happiness and are afraid of pain. The (spiritual) teacher, therefore, out of compassion, imparts instructions, which remove suffering and produce bliss.
  2. If you desire your welfare, listen to those (instructions) with an attentive mind, (all ye who are) worthy of liberation. Being intoxicated by the strong liquor of delusion since eternity the soul has forgotten its nature and has been wandering aimlessly in the world.
  3. The tale of its ramblings is very long. I shall, however, describe it briefly in accordance with what the saints have said. Infinite time has been passed in “Nigoda” (Condition of Life) invested in a one-sensed body.
  4. There the soul had to undergo the horrible pangs of births and deaths for 18 times during the interval of a single respiration. Coming out of it, the soul was embodied as earth, water, fire, air and “Pratyeka” vegetable (where one body contains one soul as distinguished from Sadharana vegetable, where a host of souls possess a common body).
  5. The achievement of the form of a mobile creature was as difficult as obtaining the desire-fulfilling jewel. Inhabiting the body on a worm, a bee etc., it suffered severe pain on death.
  6. At some time it was born as a five sensed beast, and was in the absence of mind faculty steeped in utter ignorance. When equipped with mind, it assumed the body of a ferocious lion or the like; and killed and devoured numerous weak animals.

8-9. Sometimes being itself a weak animal it was eaten by strong ones. It suffered many troubles such as boring (in the nose), cutting (of tail), hunger, thirst, carrying heavy load, cold, heat, being bound up, being killed, pains which cannot be described by millions of tongues. Dying with an afflicted mind, it fell into the dreadful ocean of hell.

  1. The agony from touch of the earth there, was more severe than that of a thousand scorpion bites. There flowed a stream of blood and pus abounding in a multitude of worms and scalding to the body.
  2. The trees there are like silk-cotton trees with leaves such as cut the body like a sword. The heat and cold there is so severe that a mass of iron like Mount Meru would melt or pulverize.
  3. Instigated by extremely wicked Asuras, the hellish beings mince each other’s bodies small. Their thirst would not be quenched by the waters of an ocean, but not a drop is available there.
  4. The severity of the appetite there, would not be satisfied even by the grains of the three worlds, but not a grain is available. Such agonies were suffered for oceans of time when as the result of some good action (the soul) obtained a human body.
  5. It remained in the mother’s womb for nine months, and had to bear the pangs due to a contraction of limbs. At the time of birth the anguish was such that words fail to express it.
  6. During infancy it had not wisdom, during youth it was attached to young woman. Old age is akin to semi-death; and one dare not look at his own face.
  7. In consequence of an equanimous submission to the fruition of Karmas, it may migrate to the bodies of the three Residential angels (Residential, Steller and Peripetatic). There it suffers from the devastating fire of sense-desires and is afflicted with lamentations on approach of death.
  8. Even if it became a heavenly celestial, it was unhappy, for want of right-belief. From there it came down to an immobile body. Thus the soul goes on wandering in the Universe.

Second Dhala

This is currently missing – it was printed in a journal that is being traced.

Third Dhala 

  1. Bliss is the quest of the Soul. It consists in the absence of worry. There is no worry in Moksha (Liberation). Therefore follow the way to Liberation, which is Right belief, Right knowledge and Right conduct. The path is two-fold. The Right path is known as Nishchaya (direct) the other called Vyavahara (indirect) leads to it.
  2. The faith that the Self is distinct from other objects is Right-Belief. Knowledge of the real nature of the Self is knowledge. A firm stand on that basis is Conduct.   Now listen about the practical path of Liberation which leads to the Direct Path.
  3. Have a true belief in Jiva (soul), Ajiva (Non-soul) Asrava (influx of karmic matter into soul), Bandha (bondage with the soul), Samvara (stoppage of influx), Nirjara (shedding away) and Moksha (riddance of Karma). This is practical Right Belief. Now to describe them. After listening to their general and special characteristics, have an unswerving faith therein.
  4. Souls have been placed in 3 classes as Bahiratmana (wrong believer), Antaratmana (right-believer) and Parmatmana (perfect). One, who considers the body and soul as one is ignorant of reality and is a wrong-believer. The enlightened right-believer is of three types, i.e., low, intermediate and high. The self-contemplating ascetic, who is free from both (external and internal) kinds of possessions and has a pure heart belongs to the high class.
  5. In the intermediate degree is the right-believer, who observes partial vows (non-injury, truth, non-stealing, chastity and limited wordly possessions). A right-believer without vows is of the primary class. All these are pilgrims on the path of liberation. The perfect soul is Sakal (corporeal) and Nikal (non-corporeal) Sakal Parmatman is the adorable Arhat, who has warded off the (destructive) Ghatiya Karmas and who has seen Loka and Aloka (Universe and non-Universe).
  6. The great Siddha Parmatma is bodyless, pure, unpolluted with the triple karmic filth (Dravyam, Bhava and No-Karma) and enjoyer of infinite bliss. Discard wrong belief, it is to be rejected. Be a right-believer. Contemplate constantly upon the pure and perfect soul and attain perpetual bliss.
  7. That which is wanting in consciousness, is called Ajiva. It is of five classes. Matter is possessed of five colours (blue, black, yellow, red and white), five tastes (pungent, bitter, saline, acid and sweet), two odours (fragrance and maldour) and eight kinds of touch (soft, hard, heavy, light, hot, cold, smooth and rough). The medium of motion for soul and matter is termed Dharma substance, which is colourless; the medium, of rest is known as Adharma substance. Both are described as being without form by Jina.
  8. Space is that which provides accommodation for all substances. Change is Time; practically it is (reckoned as) day-night. These are Non-Soul. Now Listen to Asrava. It is the movement of mind, body or tongue actuated by wrong belief, vowlessness, carelessness and passions.
  9. They cause trouble to the Soul. Therefore avoid them. The combination of Karmic molecules with the Soul is Bandha (Bondage). Do not have bondage. Cultivate Samvara, whereby the Karmic inflow is stopped through equanimity and sense-control. Constantly practise Nirjara which is the shedding of Karmas through asceticism.
  10. The status which is immune from all Karmas is Liberation, eternal and blissful. Such a belief in the essentials is practical Right-belief. Jinendra is Deva (the worshipful). He who is free from attachments is the Preceptor. That which is based on Daya (non-injury) is Religion. Regard these as the root of Right Belief which should be acquired with its eight parts.
  11. Renounce the eight kinds of arrogance, avoid the three follies, abjure the six wrong foundations of faith, think of detachment (from temporal attractions and the like). I shall describe briefly the eight-parts of right-faith and its twenty-five defects. It is not possible to acquire the virtues and avoid the defects without understanding them.
  12. Have no doubts in the word of Jina. Do not practise religion for secular comforts. Do not feel disgust at the untidy body of an ascetic. Discriminate between the right and wrong principles. Conceal your virtues and the defects of others. Develop your own virtues, support yourself and others, when deviating from piety, by force of carnal inclinations and the like.

13 & 14. Love a true believer as a cow loves her calf. Spread the glory of Jainism. Ever keep away from the eight defects which are contradictions (of the above eight virtues). Do not be proud if your father or mother’s brother is a king. Do not be proud of beauty or knowledge. Destroy the pride of riches or strength. He who knows the Self, is not proud of ascetic practices, or high position. These are the phases of pride, eight defects of Right belief. Do not praise the followers of bad teachers, bad gods, and bad religions. Do not offer prostration to any except Jina, Jaina Saints and Jaina Scripture.

  1. The good man who is adorned with Right-Faith, unblemished and correct, is revered ever by the lords of the celestials, although he observes no vows because of weakness of action. He is a householder but is not attached to the house. (He is as unattached) as a lotus is unattached to the water. His affection is (outward) like that of a courtesan. He remains pure like gold in mire.
  2. Excepting the first, a right-believer is not reborn in the other six hells; nor in Jyotish (steller), Vyantara (peripatetic), Bhavanvasi (residential) fluid bodies; nor as a eunuch, female, immobile being, sub-human with two, three or four senses only, nor as an animal. Nothing in the three worlds and the three periods (past, present and future) is so beneficial as Right Belief. It is the root of all religions. Without it, all actions are harmful.
  3. This (Right-Belief) is the first step to the palace of Moksha. O pure and liberable adopt this. Without this, Knowledge and Conduct can not acquire Rightness. O Wise, Doulatram (the author) listen to this, ponder over it, be vigilant, do not waste time. This human condition is difficult to obtain again, if you do not acquire Right Belief.

 Fourth Dhala

  1. After having acquired right belief, pay homage to right knowledge which like the sun illuminates the self and the non-self, with their manifold attributes.
  2. Right knowledge manifests itself along with right-belief. They are (however) distinct from each other. Their distinctive features, beyond dispute, are faith and enlightenment. Though simultaneously produced, right belief is the cause and right knowledge the effect. Light illumines itself and the lamp simultaneously, still the light proceeds from the Lamp.
  3. It (knowledge) is of two kinds — direct and indirect. Sensitive (Mati) and Scriptural (Sruta) knowledge and indirect (Paroksha), they arise through the senses and the mind; the Visual (Avadhi) and Mental (Manahparyaya) knowledge are partially direct (Desha-pratyaksha). With limitations of substances and space, such knowledge is clear.
  4. The Omniscient Lord simultaneously knows clearly the infinite attributes and infinite modifications of all substances.   There is nothing so conducive to happiness as Right-knowledge. Here is the supreme nectar which cures diseases of birth, old-age and death.
  5. A person with right knowledge gets rid, in a moment, by control of mind, speech and body, of such Karmas as one without knowledge can shed by ascetic practices in millions of lives.
  6. A soul may attain, for an infinite number of times, the (high celestial-region) graiveyak, by adopting the vows of an ascetic; but without a knowledge, of the SELF, it never enjoys a little bit of bliss.
  7. Therefore study the realities propounded by Jina-vara; get rid of doubt, delusion and stupefaction, visualise your ownself. If this human condition of existence, good family, Jaina religious discourses are lost, they will not, like a precious gem lost in the ocean, be found again.
  8. Wealth, society, elephants, horses and kingdom, are of no use. If a knowledge of the reality of the SELF is obtained, it will remain unshaken. Such knowledge arises from a discrimination between Self and non-Self. O thou, worthy of liberation! try to acquire that knowledge even by millions of efforts.
  9. The saints have said that it is due to the potency of right knowledge that persons attained liberation in the past, attain it now and will attain it in the future.
  10. The terrible fire of sense-desires burns up men and forests in the world. The only means of extinguishing it is the heavy rainfall of knowledge.
  11. O Brother! Do not feel elated or grieved by the fruits of good or evil Karmas. These are modifications of matter. They come into being, they vanish, they are not permanent. Out of a million talks keep this truth in your mind. Break off all trammels of the world, and concentrate your attention on the SELF.
  12. After having obtained right knowledge acquire Right Conduct. It is classified as partial or complete. A layman avoid injury to mobile being and does not purposelessly hurt immobile beings. He does not utter words which are harsh, reproachable or incentive to killing.
  13. He does not take anything, except water and earth, which has not been given to him. He remains unattached to all females except his wife. Keeping in view his circumstances, he limits his possessions. He also limits his movements in the ten directions; and does not transgress such limits.
  14. Within these limits he further limits his activities to a village, a lane, a house, a garden, market, and thus avoids all the rest. He is not anxious over anybody’s financial loss, or failure or success. He offers no advice in respect of such matters. Commerce and agriculture also lead to sin.
  15. He does not through carelessness cause injury to water, earth, vegetable, fire, nor does he secure an obligation by supplying a sword, a bow, a plough and other instruments of destruction.  He never listens to narrations, which excite feelings of attachment of aversion. He does not indulge in other acts which cause purposeless sins.
  16. He practices concentration, with an equanimous heart. Renouncing sins, he observers fasts on the four days (the 8th and the 14th day of every fortnight). Having fixed a limit to objects of enjoyment and re-enjoyment, he avoids attachment. He offers meals first to an ascetic and takes his meal thereafter.
  17. He avoids the five defects of each of the twelve vows, and observes defectless Body-Renunciation at approaching death.   By such an observance of the vows of a layman, he attains the sixteenth celestial region. Descending from there, he gets a human body, becomes an ascetic and attains Liberation.

 Fifth Dhala

  1. The ascetics, observe complete vows. They have a high destiny. They are unattached to worldly pleasures. They practice the twelve meditations, which give births to renunciation.
  2. The joy of equanimity is aroused by such meditations, like a flame caused by wind. When the soul knows itself, it attains eternal bliss.
  3. Youth, home, cattle, wealth, wife, horse, elephant, obedient servants, sense pleasures, are transitory like the rainbow or the evanescent lightning.
  4. As a deer is killed by a lion, similarly all the leading Sura, Asura, and Vidyadharas are destroyed by death. There are numerous amulets, charms and incantations, but none can rescue from death.
  5. The four conditions of existence are full of living beings who move about in the five-fold whirl. The world is worthless in every way. There is no happiness in it.
  6. One is himself alone affected by the consequences of his good and bad Karmas. Neither son nor wife share therein. All are influenced by self-interest.
  7. The soul and the body are mixed up like milk and water. Each exists distinct from the other. They are not one. Wealth, home, son, wife, obviously exist separately. How can they be one?
  8. Why are you enamoured of this body, which is a bundle of flesh, blood, pus and excreta and is defiled by bones, fat and the like, and has nine outlets, through which dirty matters flow.
  9. Of Brother, the vibratory activities of body, mind and speech cause the inflow of Karmic molecules into the soul. The inflow is the source of multifarious miseries. The wise stop the inflow.
  10. They are able to check the Karmic inflow. They do not incur merit and demerit. They concentrate their attention upon self-realisation. They stop the inflow, and enjoy bliss.
  11. The shedding of Karmas on maturity of time is of no avail. The bliss of liberation, manifests itself only when the Karmas are destroyed by austerities.
  12. The universe is neither created nor supported by anybody. It is composed of six substances and is indestructible. For want of equanimity, the Jiva, wanders incessantly, and suffers pain.
  13. The Jiva has on numberless occasions acquired the highest, “Graiveyak” status but not right knowledge. A saint should acquire it.
  14. Dharma is Right Belief, Knowledge and Conduct, free from deluding ideas. Jiva attains perpetual bliss, when it follows Dharma.
  15. That Dharma is practised by the ascetics, I shall describe their activities. O worthy of liberation! hear it and realise your own Self.

Sixth Dhala

  1. The ascetics avoid committing any kind of physical injury by not killing any of the six kinds of living beings. By uprooting attachment and other emotions they are not guilty of causing mental injury. There is no trace of falsehood about them. They would not even take water and mud, which is not given to them. They observe the vow of chastity in its 18,000 details, and remain absorbed in the Intelligent Brahma.
  2. They keep aloof from he 14 kinds of mental attachments and the 10 classes of external possessions. They walk looking attentively on the ground to a distance of four cubits, and thus practise the discipline of Irya Samiti. The words from their mouths are like nectar dropping from the moon, beneficial to the world, removers of all that is harmful, soothing to the ear, banishers of doubts and curers of the malady of delusion.
  3. They are indifferent to taste; take food for enduring increasing asceticism, not for pampering the body, at the residence of a Sravak of good family, avoiding the 46 kinds of defects. They take care in laying down or lifting up the sacred instruments of learning (scriptures), of body-purification (bowl of water) and of religious observance (brush of peacock feathers). They throw  of excrement, urine and expectoration after looking for an unfrequented place.
  4. Having duly controlled the mind, body and speech, they meditate upon the self; and the deer rub against their motionless posture, mistaking it for a rock. In order to attain conquest over the five senses, they feel no attachment or aversion to good or bad, touch, taste, colour, smell or sound.
  5. They maintain equanimity, recite hymns, offer obeisance to Jina-Deva, remain constantly engrossed in scriptures, engage in self-analysis and self-chastisement, and give up attachment for the body. They do not bathe nor rub teeth. They have no covering, take a short sleep on the bare ground on one side, during the later part of the night.
  6. They take a meager meal off the palms of their hands, once a day, in a standing posture, they uproot their hair, they do not shirk hardships, and are absorbed in self-contemplation. They view with equanimity a foe and a friend, a palace and a cemetery, gold and glass, praise and abuse, a respectful offering and a sword-stroke.
  7. They practise the twelve kinds of austerities, follow the ten rules of righteousness constantly, adopt the three jewels (right belief, knowledge and conduct), move in the company of ascetics or alone, and never covet worldly pleasures. This is a statement of complete control. Now listen to Self-absorption, whereby the majesty of the Self is revealed and all inclination towards external objects ceases to exist.
  8. The saint probes his inner-most by the extremely sharp-edged chisel of eight understanding. He differentiates his own nature from things like appearances and attractions. He realises his Self, in his own Self, through his Self, for His-self. All distinctions between attributes and substances and among the knower, knowledge and knowable then vanish.
  9. Then there is no distinction in the contemplation, the contemplator, and the object of contemplation. The duality of expression is absent. Consciousness, the subject, the object and the verb, all three are indivisible and indestructible. The unwavering condition of Pure attentiveness manifests itself. The trinity of right belief, knowledge and conduct sparkles are one.
  10. The need for proof, points of view, and rules of logic, is then not experienced. I am then everlasting, Perception, Knowledge, Joy and Might, and in me there remain nothing alien to my-self. I am the achiever and the object of achievement. I am not obstructed by Karmas and their effects.
  11. After such meditation, the ascetic becomes fixed in his own-Self and enjoys indescribable bliss, which is unattainable by Indra, Nagendra, a Sovereign or ‘Ahmindra’. That very moment he burns the forest of the four destructive Karmas by the fire of pure concentration of mind. He sees the universe through Omniscience and speaks of the path of liberation to all deserving it.
  12. Thereafter on annihilating the remaining Aghateeya Karmas, he reaches the eighth region (of Liberation), where the eight Karmas are annihilated, and the eight attributes, Samayaktva and others, shine, forth. After crossing the saline and boundless ocean of transmigration, he reaches the shore and becomes pure, incorporeal, without form, un-polluted, imperishable pure consciousness.
  13. The attributes and modifications of the universe and the beyond are reflected in the Self; and he will remain eternally the same on attainment of Liberation. Blessed are those who on acquiring the human body, accomplished this, and attained the highest happiness, and got rid of the five-fold wanderings, the beginning of which was untraceable.
  14. In this way the blessed ones achieve, and shall achieve the three jewels, which have been classified directly and indirectly. The water of their glory shall cleanse the filth of the world. Having understood this, cast away laziness, gather courage, reverentially receive the instruction, and accomplish your purpose speedily before disease or old age catches hold of you.
  15. The fire of attachment incessantly burns you. Therefore drink the nectar of equanimity. You have for long nurtured the desire and passions; now renounce them and come to your ownself. Why are you enamoured of alien objects, which are not yours? Why do you suffer pain? O, Doulatram, enjoy supreme bliss by means of Self-absorption. Do not miss this opportunity.
  16. Having seen the utterances of Budhajan, I have composed the discourse of the essentials in Samvat 1891 on the 3rd day of the bright half of Baisakh. The wise should correct mistakes of words or meanings due to my small intellect or carelessness; and thus reach the shore of the ocean of transmigrations.